Geminid meteor shower this weekend in the USA

This video is called ScienceCasts: Embers from a Rock Comet: The 2014 Geminid Meteor Shower.

From eNature Blog in the USA:

Don’t Miss The Geminid Meteor Shower This Weekend!

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 by eNature

The December night sky is busy. We’ll see the Geminid meteor shower as well as the less well known Ursids closer to Christmas.

And later in the month we have the the Winter solstice— the first day of winter.

The Geminid’s Meteors Should Be Easy to See

The nights of the 13th and 14th will be the peak of one of the best meteor showers of the year. Known as the Geminid meteor shower, it gets its name because the meteors appear to be zipping towards an observor from the constellation Gemini.

In the United States, head out after dark (best viewing is usually after 9 PM) and look a little north of due east. As long as you avoid other lights, you should be able to observe this year’s shower with the naked eye. Note that this year the moon will be rising after midnight so, unlike many showers that often are best seen in the VERY early morning, your best bet is to watch BEFORE midnight on the evenings of December 13 and 14—until the light of the moon as it rises makes the meteors harder to see..

Once the moonlight dies down, you may be able to see as many as 100 meteors per hour on the nights of December 13th and 14th. In fact, the International Meteor Organization ( predicts the hourly rate might be 120 meteors an hour at the peak of the shower.

The Ursids are visible December 17th-23rd, peaking the night of the 21-22. This shower is often neglected because it peaks just before Christmas and the rates are lower than the Gemin[i]ds, which peaks the week before the Ursids. Observers will normally see 5-10 Ursids per hour during the late morning hours on the date of maximum activity although there have been occasional outbursts when rates have exceeded 25 per hour.

And Don’t Forget The Start Of Winter

Saturday, December 21st is the Winter Solstice, which marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere (although it started a few weeks back for many folks!). The solstice is actually a very specific event and time. This year it’s at 11:03 PM Universal Time (what most of us used to call Greenwich Mean Time). That’s five hours ahead of US Eastern Standard and eight hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time. Here’s a handy link to calculate the exact time for your location.

At precisely that time, the Earth’s axial tilt is at its most distant from the sun and North America gets the least amount of sunlight it experiences all year. So even though we’re still facing several months of cold weather across the US, we’ll soon see days start to get longer, and eventually warmer, from this point forward.

So are you ready for winter? Is your local wildlife?

Website has a great summary of the Geminds.

4 thoughts on “Geminid meteor shower this weekend in the USA

  1. Pingback: Draconids meteor shower this week | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Spectacular Geminid meteor shower in China | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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